LearnRussianwith Us!Start Learning!
Do you love reading about Russia and all things Russian, however quirky they might be? Do you love «русские народные сказки» [Russian fairy tales]? Are you interested in the latest developments in «русско-украинские отношения» [Russian-Ukrainian relations]? Do you enjoy looking at «занимательные картинки» [entertaining pictures]? If you answered «да» (do I really need to translate this one?) to all of the above, then this is the post for you.
A while ago I wrote a couple of posts about some of the Russian fairy tale creatures. «В частности» [Particularly], I said:
Russian fairy tale land is located «за тридевять земель» [across thrice-nine lands] in the mythical «Лукоморье» [Lookomorie].
I then analyzed the word «лукоморье» and concluded that pretty much any bow-shaped «залив» [bay] could be it. That’s just not specific enough! But I’ll tell you more, my «объяснение» [explanation] of the whereabouts of Lookomorie, while «теоретически правильное» [correct in theory], is «практически не верно» [inaccurate in practice].
Turns out, there exists an actual «Сказочная карта России» [Fairy Tale Map of Russia] (thank you, Bob, for the tip off). Better yet, it is published as a cool and interactive «инфографика» [infographics]. The not so good news is that it’s available only in Russian. So let me go ahead and highlight some of the more quirky info:
Turns out, one of the most interesting fairy tale characters, «Баба Яга», the old witch Baba Yaga, hails from a small «село» [village] in Yaroslavskiy Province. At the same time, «Иванушка-дурачок» [Ivan the Fool] found his home in a national park in Arkhangelski Province.
Shouldn’t it be «наоборот» [the other way around]? Shouldn’t Baba Yaga live in a national park, given her habit of living alone and away from others? And shouldn’t Ivan live in a small village instead? The map explains that the park «забронировал» [laid claim to] Ivan some years ago and now hosts annual «дураковина» festivals.
This word is an interesting one. It’s a good example of how suffixes add multiple layers of meaning and amazing flexibility to Russian words.
So «дураковина» means tomfoolery of epic proportions. It’s probably a festival where you are expected to «дурачиться» [clown around] and maybe even «одурачивать» [make fool of someone], «валять дурака» [play dumb] and «придуриваться» [to play fool].
The itinerant «Колобок» ran away from home in the town of Ulyanovsk, at least according to some researchers. Which makes him «земляк» [a fellow countryman] with Ulyanovsk’s other native son, «Владимир Ильич Ульянов» [Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov] aka «Владимир Ленин» [Vladimir Lenin]. Which might explain this highly unusual sculpture that used to grace a factory in the Ukrainian city of Odessa.
And speaking of Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine have their share of squabbles over some critical issues, such as natural gas deliveries. And since fairy tale creatures are important cultural resources (for example, for «брендинг» [branding] and future merchandizing) they presented another possibility for «конфликт» [conflict].
Turns out, Ukrainians compiled their own fairy tale map which claims some of the same characters as the Russian map – «Колобок» [Kolobok], «Илья Муромец» [Ilya Murometz], and «Курочка Ряба» [the Speckled Hen].
As the saying goes, «история рассудит» [history will judge] who’s right and who’s got to build a museum or a monument first. One thing remains certain – «Архангельск – родина Снеговика» [Arkangelsk – the birthplace of Snowman].